Officials Survey the Camp Fire’s Path of Destruction

CHICO -- The California National Guard offered FOX40 a bird’s-eye view of the Camp Fire’s destructive path.

It’s a blaze that has now burned more than 150,000 acres and almost completely wiped the town of Paradise off the map.

"In my entire career I’ve been to multiple urban incidents like this but this is unprecedented for California," said Cal Fire Division Chief Mark Higgins.

Higgins flew along with FOX40 to assess the damage.

"I can’t imagine anything of this nature and magnitude in any other country so far," Higgins said.

Manning the roadblocks below, the California National Guard has had dozens of troops on the ground.

"I have seven soldiers that lost their homes in this fire and some of those soldiers are actually out on the line right now," said California National Guard Col. Robert Paoletti.

Paoletti said his men and women are also helping in the search for human remains and ensuring crews are clean as they return from searching burned down homes.

"Maybe lead paint, possible asbestos is all now particulate containment that’s in the ash," he said. "So we’re decontaminating them as they come off the line.”

While so much was lost in Paradise, from the air it's easy to see where firefighters were able to protect homes.

"We will end up re-thinking a lot of our tactics," Higgins said.

In the aftermath, Higgins said Cal Fire is now taking away valuable lessons.

"Probably the biggest message that we’re going to get from this is evacuations," he said.

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